Your Guide to Mastering the Perfect Gradient Lip
Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean a popsicle-stained lip can't be worn year-round. The saturated color starts at the center of the lip, gradually fading in intensity as it spans outward, but don't confuse it with the ever-popular ombre effect. "This is more of a bitten and stained finish," explains makeup artist Elle Leary. To get the effect right, she advises using no more than two sheer lip colors, but realistically, it can be achieved with just one.
Start by applying a thin layer of lip balm—whether it's sheer or completely transparent is your prerogative—then pick up the color of your choice using your pointer finger. "Press the product into the middle of your lips until you get your desired intensity, but avoid the outer lines," Leary says. "People have a tendency to put color all over, but using your finger in the center area helps get the right placement." Make sure the darkest tones are concentrated in the middle of your upper and lower lips, with lighter coverage elsewhere. In the case that the process gets a little messy, Leary advises using concealer around the outer perimeter to clean up smudges, then blend it out using your fingers.